“Mom, Ryan’s baseball friend told me that I’m small and that I can’t play baseball,” our three-year old Joaquin said.
Over the years, even my older kids have come up to me at one time or another to report that a classmate or a friend told them they were not good enough.
It’s inevitable that our kids will hear put-downs from others about their looks, their potential, their achievements and just about any trivial thing that concerns them.
As parents, we can react in different ways. We can go and confront that boy who put down our child and warn him to stop bullying our son “or else…” Or we can pull out our child from that school and look for a more friendly environment for him. Or we can constantly hover around our child and make sure no one comes near him who has bad intentions. Or we can teach our kids to attack with meaner words like “Yes I’m small but I’ll grow bigger but you, you’ll stay ugly forever!” (Believe me, there were times in the past, I was so tempted to attack!)
Or we can simply tell our kids to ignore the comment. We can teach our child to listen to the right voices and reject the wrong ones.
When Joaquin told me about the incident, I reminded him of the video we just watched entitled “Dave and the Giant Pickle.” (Talk about timing…) This was VeggieTales version of the biblical account of David and Goliath. I reminded Joaquin that even if David was small, he was able to kill Goliath because God was with him. So even if other kids tell him he’s small, he can still do great things because God will help him. “So Joaquin, you are big because God is with you!” I saw how his face lit up as he received affirmation from me.
Of course, your response will depend on the gravity of the situation. If your child is constantly being bullied by his classmates and he is starting to hate school because of that, by all means move him to another school. But if it is a simple case of immature teasing, teach your child to ignore those comments, and feed his mind with the right ones. When others say discouraging things to our children, let our words of praise and affirmation speak even louder!